Steel Markets

Existing Home Sales Unchanged in February

Written by Sandy Williams

Existing home sales were quiet in February, declining a scant 0.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.60 million in February from 4.62 million in January, reported the National Association of Realtors. Year-over-year sales fell 7.1 percent from the same period in 2013. The February pace was at its lowest rate since July 2012.

“We had ongoing unusual weather disruptions across much of the country last month, with the continuing frictions of constrained inventory, restrictive mortgage lending standards and housing affordability less favorable than a year ago,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Some transactions are simply being delayed, so there should be some improvement in the months ahead. With an expected pickup in job creation, home sales should trend up modestly over the course of the year.”

Prices for existing homes continued to grow in February, up 9.1 year-over-year to a median price of $189,000. Yun said price gains have added $4 trillion of housing wealth recovery over the past three years.

Total housing inventory was up by 6.4 percent to 2.0 million existing homes for sale at the end of February. At the current sales pace the supply represented a 5.2 month supply, up from 4.9 months in January. Inventory is 5.3 percent higher than a year ago.

Regionally, sales declined on a monthly basis in the Northeast and Midwest by 11.3 percent and 3.5 percent, respectively. Sales of existing homes rose in the South by 1.5 percent and by 5.9 percent in the West.

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